Clandestine charm


About eight years ago my friend Sergio González Rodríguez “discovered” a tiny, hole-in-the-wall dive called El Bull Pen on Calle Medellín near Calle Yucatán in the Colonia Roma. At the time, it had a certain clandestine charm (that remained elusive to many) – one got the sense that anything was obtainable at the Bull Pen, if you lived long enough to obtain it. (This is not precisely a joke. At least a couple of friends were mugged while leaving the Bull Pen late at night, one of them by a policeman.)






In any case, Sergio published an article about the place in the newspaper Reforma, and the Bull Pen became incredibly (you might say insufferably) popular, particularly among the hippy-ish young. The place expanded to the property next door, live rock bands played at earsplitting volume ... it struck me as way too much of a good thing.






Then it closed down. For what at least seemed like years. This happens often to such places in Mexico City, and it is usually assumed that the owners haven’t paid the requisite bribes, or the person who was accepting the bribes can no longer protect them, or they have made so much money that it no longer matters … variations on a theme. The Bull Pen recently reopened its doors, now back to being a tiny hole-in-the-wall. We’ll see how long it lasts in its present incarnation.